It's a mad, mad, mad world

It's not fair, not fair at all.

Whatever I hold dear has been under attack, and whoever I feel affinity with has been accused. The terror against the cities in which their dwellers have been targeted has hit me as strongly as it hit them. Putting aside Madrid, a city I'm sure is no less in value than the others, New York, Washington, Istanbul and London are cities I spent a part of my life in or I am a frequent visitor to; I love all of them enormously. The terrorists have targeted my cities. I really take the issue personally.

There are other reasons why I feel personally offended by the outrage committed under the guise of correcting wrongs. Those who are responsible, or at least claimed to have a hand in the execution of the atrocities, they have hijacked the belief system I hold dear. My note of hesitancy in the previous sentence doesn't stem from any adherence to "conspiracy theories," but is the result of my subconscious rebelling against any suggestion that religion has something to do with attacks targeting civilians.

This is not the end of my restlessness. The attacks on New York, Washington, Istanbul, Madrid and now London have been met with counter-attacks against Kabul and Baghdad and some other cities in Afghanistan and Iraq. Damascus, Tehran and other cities in Syria and Iran are next in line. When the bombs rained over cities which were once cradles of very high forms of civilization, I lay awake in my study feeling they rained over wherever I am, obliterating every remnants of my historical adventure as a noble human being worthy of walking on earth.

Who is more aggressive, the attacker who does not differentiate in his/her target or those who counter the attacks with military might which is being used against ordinary people too indiscriminately? This is not a naive question. The "war against terror" waged since 9/11 is eroding the values of our common modern civilization, the values accumulated during the last several centuries. The attackers are responsible for the destruction of lives and buildings, but the warriors replying to their atrocities with force are also destroying lives and buildings. The reply the attackers receive is, I am sure, what they expect and hope for with their fingers crossed.

Of course every person and every society as well as every civilization has a right to defend themselves against aggressors, and there is no doubt about the existence of a moral basis for self-defense. But, since the beginning of the civilized world, the legitimacy of war has been defined by the rightfulness of the cause, and the extreme use of force has not been condoned. Terror breeds counter-terror, and counter-terror breeds more aggression. Especially in our time, when the availability of high technology is rampant and the terrorist act easy to commit, when huge cities are at the mercy of a dedicated lone ranger, the quality of reply is vitally important.

The unknown terrorists who commit atrocities can boast that they got their message across, using political slogans and uttering common grievances. Under the barrack of guns, their claims find no echo. But, does this make the case they are unjustly using unworthy? The Palestinian problem is there to prove that Muslim rights are being violated at whim. The existence of tyrants and usurpers of basic human rights who enjoy protection by their Western bosses is fueling flames in the minds of many who have very little to lose if they indulge in terrorist acts.

For the sake of argument, let's assume that the terrorist acts targeted at London were committed not by the "usual suspects," but some other faces from a Godforsaken place, from a country in a different continent. From Africa, say. Can the warriors of the "war against terror" open another front in Africa and send soldiers there? If our answer is yes, then tomorrow, when another hit squad strikes against a target in a Western capital, it means a new contingency will march towards its place of origin. All of a sudden, everywhere will turn out to be a front in the war against terror.

I resist envisaging such a world, not for my own sake since I am old enough to survive any eventuality, but for my children whom I try to raise as responsible souls in a world demanding more interdependency and collective effort.

Here I am, helpless, unable to stop aggression emanating from my part of the world, against the cities which have given me shelter whenever I was in need of it, against people for whom I feel only respect. At the same time, I am not at all free to turn my accusing finger towards my own ilk since I see a lot of injustices they face. The terrorists may have been hitting Western cities, but by their actions they make their own people more vulnerable to foreign interference and outright aggression. Furthermore, their very actions hurt the cause they claim they adhere to and Islam, the religion they profess, is the collateral damage.

I never think the world we live in is fair, but I still hope to enjoy some fairness in the world nevertheless. In a world full of injustices and terror, whether I take the responsibility for the actions of others or disown them, I lose.

It's not fair, not fair at all.

From The New Anatolian, July 12, 2005


  • Politically correct, Turkish style - July 5, 2005

  • Non-fiction vs. Fiction - June 28, 2005

  • Out of sync, out of place - June 21, 2005

  • My mind's still numb - June 14, 2005

  • Mr. Erdogan is in Washington - June 7, 2005

  • I'm innocent - May 31, 2005

  • Humiliation: Today for me, tomorrow for you - May 24, 2005

  • If only we had dialogue - May 17, 2005

  • From Cairo with love - May 10, 2005

  • Eyeless in Gaza - May 3, 2005

  • A partner is still needed in Cyprus - April 26, 2005

  • 'My name is State, Deep State' - April 19, 2005

  • Greed kills - April 12, 2005

  • From the observation deck - April 5, 2005

  • The mirror has cracked - March 29, 2005

  • Remembering things past - March 22, 2005

  • I invite you to use your imagination - March 15, 2005

  • A time for encouragement - March 8, 2005

  • The proof in the pudding - March 1, 2005

  • Hail to the Columnist! - February 22, 2005

  • It is in our blood, we do not waver - February 15, 2005

  • Excuse my question - February 8, 2005

  • A friend in need - February 1, 2005

  • 12 Temmuz 2005

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